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Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Four of Swords Keywords

UPRIGHT: recovery | reward | preparation | passivity | contemplation

REVERSED: lack of recognition | exhaustion | burnout | rest period is over

Four of Swords Description

The Four of Swords portrays a knight in full armor, lying in repose on a tomb, suggesting a time of rest and recuperation. His hands are positioned in prayer, indicating a need for peace and introspection. Beneath him, a single sword represents focused thought or a singular issue that requires attention, while the three swords hanging above, aimed towards his head and torso, signify challenges or conflicts that are on hold or being contemplated.

The stained-glass window depicting a woman and child adds an element of familial or personal connection, possibly representing the knight's motivations for seeking solace or the source of his contemplation. This card symbolizes a period of recovery, meditation, and the need to pause and regroup before facing impending challenges. It emphasizes the importance of taking a break to gather strength and clarity before tackling the problems represented by the swords.

NOTE: The tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider-Waite deck and Decoding The Cards

Wishing For A Deeper Tarot Connection?

Decoding The Cards goes further than keywords and traditional interprations by providing exercises for each card in the tarot.

The exercises this book are designed to challenge you to delve deeper into the meanings of each card, as well as consider your own personal experiences in relation to the traditional meanings.

Four of Swords Upright

The Four of Swords is a card of rest and recovery. You need to take a break from the action and find some peace before launching into the next challenge.


When the Four of Swords appears in a reading, it is a sign that you should take some more quiet time to meditate on the situation before rushing to a decision. Taking a step away from the action and listening to your inner voice may help you gain a better perspective on what’s going on and your next steps.


The Four of Swords can also indicate that you have been ill or are getting worn down and need to give your body time to heal and recuperate. Slow down and conserve your energy.

Four of Swords Reversed

When the Four of Swords appears in a reading in the reversed position, it is a dire warning that there is a severe need to take time out to rest. If you keep pushing, you’ll suffer exhaustion and burnout.


Sometimes the reversed Four of Swords points to the need to rest, but your situation’s circumstances prevent you from taking time out.


The Four of Swords reversed can also indicate frustration over a lack of action or progress. You want to make headway on a project or difficult situation, but nothing is happening.


The reversed Four of Swords may indicate that you are not receiving recognition for your work — perhaps unfairly, or perhaps because you have not earned it yet.

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